Immunize or go to jail!
Prince George County, Maryland has a unique way to deal with the ever increasing health issue caused by parents who do not vaccinate their children: fines or up to 10 days in jail!
Letters were sent out to the parents of children in their school system advising them that records indicated their kids were not vaccinated. They were also informed of the consequences for failing to provide an appropriately signed waiver for their child or getting their kids immunized. Good for them. It’s about time someone took “this bull by the horns!”
I clearly remember how ill some of those childhood diseases made me, my brothers and sisters, and my friends. I lost complete hearing in one of my ears from one, the mumps. There were also preventable deaths caused by the diseases and/or the treatments for the illnesses, such as Reyes Syndrome!
Every year there would be almost epidemic numbers of kids with measles, mumps, and chicken pox. We had six kids in my family. Each of these diseases went through our family like the spread of wildfires. One form of measles usually only hit once like the other two illnesses. But, one could be gotten again! Polio affected huge numbers of kids. Often death occurred. When death didn’t occur, kids who survived were often left crippled for life and wearing leg braces, in wheel chairs, or spent the remainder of their lives in “Iron Lungs.” President Franklin Roosevelt probably is one of the more familiar polio victims of that era!
But the vaccinations also prevented such deadly and epidemic diseases as small pox, which could easily kill thousands or millions. Small pox has been virtually eliminated. All this resulted from the aggressive and required vaccination programs in America. Even meningitis and illnesses caused by that virus are now treated with vaccinations.
Sadly, there have been some deaths and other complications for a very small percentage of children. Such an occurrence is always extremely hard to handle. For the parents, it is devastating. However, easily millions of lives have been saved by these vaccinations.
In the last ten years, maybe a little, longer I have seen reports and had first hand knowledge of kids with some of these long eradicated diseases in our local schools. This is due to two causes. One there is a huge influx of illegal aliens in our area. Most are not vaccinated. The second reason is many parents now don’t remember what it was like before the vaccinations when so many kids were hit with these diseases. They were born after their eradication. Since “no one” gets these illness any more, they don’t see a need for the vaccinations.
Money is not an issue. Health departments provide free shots for kids. Normal parental fears of side effects are an issue every parent faces, especially with the first child. I watched my son for hours for one of the “bad” things that could happen! While I understand parental fears, that is not a reason to allow children to go un-vaccinated. I, personally, don’t feel religious reasons are a good reason for failure to vaccinate kids because those children still pose a health threat to other kids.
Of course, the “rights” groups are jumping on the band wagon over Prince George’s new policy. Those with the means are bringing legal counsel. I truly hope that the courts will uphold this policy and more counties and localities will follow their lead. Since the county implemented this policy, there are now only 939 kids not vaccinated. While the county says this is a greatly reduced number, it is far too high for me.
There are over 11,000,000 million illegal aliens in America right now. That number is growing. Add to that parents who feel there is no longer a reason for the shots and we have an potentially deadly situation on our hands. While we have vaccinations for kids that need them, drug companies do not keep as large a supply on hand as they used to. They don’t make any money off vaccinations.
We are not prepared to deal with a national epidemic of any of these diseases. Recent problems with small pox vaccinations for our troops are an excellent example of what is in store for us and many other advanced cultures. Small pox was eradicated. But recently, it has reared its ugly head again. Our government was left scurrying around to find a way to mass produce a safe vaccine to give our troops. Anthrax is another deadly disease that the troops needed to be protected against.
Jonas Salk, who developed the polio treatment, and several of his colleagues, warned the other doctors on the committee he worked with researching and developing vaccines for these childhood diseases. He said at the time, we must not become complacent about these vaccinations. He also warned that at a point in time in the future the viruses causing these diseases would mutate and make present vaccinations ineffective. He and his “band of few” were scoffed at by the rest of the doctors involved in the program. Sadly, he and his colleagues who supported him in this belief were proven right!
Immunization research is a constant, costly, and ever evolving field. Control of deadly diseases requires vigilance and vision, not politics and insurance companies. It also requires cooperation and support from the public and local officials. That’s why I hope more localities adopt similar methods to induce parents to vaccinate their kids.